Apple’s iOS 13 could have the health and fitness tools you need

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Apple may finally be starting to improve its coaching and health insights.

Apple’s Apple Watch-specific Activity app has been mostly just a repository of how many times I complete the three rings of activity every day, not much more. But a new Activity Trends feature will show graphs of progress in a number of categories over time, giving a more cohesive perspective on when things are doing well…and when they’re not.

Unfortunately, these trends won’t show up on the Apple Watch. Instead, you can only access them on your phone running iOS 13. Apple also requires 365 days of previous Apple Watch use (can be non-consecutive) before trends start to show up at all on the phone app.

That’s because the trends feature needs to look at the last 90 days of stats, and compare it against the last 365.

It’s unclear how Apple will apply these trends on your phone or Watch, but Apple promises to coach in the form of motivational nudges and guidance, to put these trends in perspective. What exact form that’ll take though (a pop-up notification? a weekly summary?) has not been disclosed.

The categories in Activity Trends include Stand Minutes, Stand Hours, total Move points, total Exercise minutes, distance and VO2 Max (a measurement of maximal blood oxygen intake during exercise, a key indicator of aerobic endurance).

Meanwhile, Apple’s Health app for iOS 13 will surface a different set of data, which is being called Highlights.

The app’s redesign will help surface health information and, hopefully, be a useful hub for guidance, instead of the current data repository it currently is.

Apple aims to deliver highlights using machine learning, emphasizing categories that may have had more recent data entries. More frequent data sets could end up ranking higher (say, you’ve been taking a bunch of blood pressure measurements, or weighing yourself routinely).

These are meant to illustrate current condition changes, but it’s less clear how Apple will deliver this information